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Cars & travel.

The best city breaks in the UK 2022

We asked readers to rate the food, accommodation, sights and attractions, and value for money at destinations across the UK
Laura Sanders

York has been named by Which? members' as their favourite large UK city to visit this year in our annual survey of the UK's best city break destinations.

 Belfast wasn't far behind and ranked second, closely followed by Edinburgh.

York scored highly for cultural sights and food and drink while Belfast is the only large city to score five stars for its lack of crowds. Meanwhile, the Scottish capital scored top marks for cultural sights, accommodation and food and drink.


Our destination features are based on real insight from readers, who tell us their favourite places to visit before we go undercover to investigate. Find out more about Which? Travel


Best large UK cities for a short break

CityDestination score
Avg hotel priceFood and drinkYour accommodationCultural sightsShoppingEase of getting aroundLack of crowdsValue for money
York86%£115

Belfast
85%£111






Edinburgh
83%£108







Liverpool
83%£113







Newcastle
80%£93







Glasgow
78%£84






London
78%£110







Using the table: Star ratings range from one to five. A dash (–) indicates we didn’t receive enough responses (30 or more) to provide a rating. Avg hotel rate from Kayak.co.uk Cultural sights and tourist attractions Includes range, quality and price of historic buildings, galleries, museums, parks and city tours. Ease of getting around Includes range of public transport options, ease of understanding transport-related maps/information/ transport ticket pricing systems, ease of walking/travelling between sights. City score Based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend the city as a holiday destination to a friend.

Weekend breaks in York

Characterised by its iconic Gothic Minster with medieval stained glass windows, it’s no surprise that York scored five out of five stars for cultural attractions in this year’s survey. And it’s easy to while away a few hours strolling along the Shambles - a medieval street lined by independent shops and restaurants. 

York got the full five stars for food and drink and accommodation from Which? members and, with four stars for value for money, you’re more likely to get your money’s worth here compared with other cities in our survey. Other attractions include the National Railway Museum, the Jorvik Viking Centre (where you can take a carriage ride back in time through a recreation of Viking Life) and Spark York - a street food and arts centre shipping container project.

Best medium UK cities for a short break

The university town of Cambridge was rated by Which? members as the best medium-sized city for a short break in the UK. Cambridge scored 81% overall and four stars for cultural sites.

In joint-second place were Canterbury and Winchester. Canterbury, however, was ranked as much better for accommodation than Winchester, scoring four out of five in this category. 

Read on to discover which other medium-sized cities got top marks from Which? members.

City
Destination scoreAvg hotel priceFood and drinkYour accommodationCultural sightsShoppingEase of getting aroundLack of crowdsValue for money
Cambridge
81%£99






Canterbury78%£101







Winchester78%£104







Chester
77%£108







Harrogate
77%£106







Oxford
77%£101







Worcester
74%£91






Using the table: Star ratings range from one to five. A dash (–) indicates we didn’t receive enough responses (30 or more) to provide a rating. Avg hotel rate from Kayak.co.uk Cultural sights and tourist attractions Includes range, quality and price of historic buildings, galleries, museums, parks and city tours. Ease of getting around Includes range of public transport options, ease of understanding transport-related maps/information/ transport ticket pricing systems, ease of walking/travelling between sights. City score Based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend the city as a holiday destination to a friend.

UK weekend breaks in Cambridge

Cambridge’s historic college buildings, with their well kept gardens, have no doubt contributed towards its four-star rating for cultural attractions. The best way to see the sights is to punt along the River Cam, which slices through the city centre past university buildings backing onto the willow-fringed banks.

King’s College Chapel, with its fan-vaulted ceiling, and Trinity College are particularly worth visiting. The Botanic Gardens are a plant-lover’s paradise all year round and art aficionados will enjoy a nose around Kettle’s Yard, the former home of artists Jim and Helen Ede, now a museum. Head to Mill Road for a choice of restaurants serving up dishes from all corners of the globe. 

Best small UK cities for a short break

Wells has been voted the best small UK city yet again by Which? members. Scoring the full five stars for lack of crowds, it’s the ideal place to find some peace and quiet while also enjoying value for money (rated four out of five stars).

Coming in close second is St Davids, followed by Bath. Both were rated highly for their accommodation options and cultural attractions.

What other small but beautiful towns and cities are perfect for a relaxing and weekend away from the crowds? 

CityDestination scoreAvg hotel priceFood and drinkYour accommodationCultural sightsShoppingEase of getting aroundLack of crowdsValue for money
Wells
88%£91





St Davids
86%-



-



Bath
84%£135







St Andrews
83%£129

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Ely
81%£105

-





Stirling
80%£87



-



Durham
79%£103







Using the table: Star ratings range from one to five. A dash (–) indicates we didn’t receive enough responses (30 or more) to provide a rating. Avg hotel rate from Kayak.co.uk Cultural sights and tourist attractions Includes range, quality and price of historic buildings, galleries, museums, parks and city tours. Ease of getting around Includes range of public transport options, ease of understanding transport-related maps/information/transport ticket pricing systems, ease of walking/travelling between sights. City score Based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend the city as a holiday destination to a friend.

UK weekend breaks in Wells

Sitting on the central green perches, Wells Cathedral, an epic endeavour of ecclesiastical architecture, was raised as England's first Gothic cathedral between 1175 and 1490. Alongside runs Vicar's Close, one of the only intact residential medieval streets left in Britain, with the moated Bishop's Palace close by. It all adds up to the full five stars Wells received in our survey for cultural sights and attractions.

Better still, it's walkable: England's smallest city has a historic core that's hardly a mile wide.

Our research

In April 2022, 3,662 Which? members completed an online survey about UK towns and cities they had visited for leisure purposes in the past year and stayed in for at least one night. 

We asked members to rate the food, accommodation, sights and attractions, level of crowds, and value for money at destinations across the UK.